Why Are Cat Trees So Expensive? And How To Make Your Own

Being a cat owner means that you’ll always be looking for products to make your buddy happy. From dry food to cat puzzles, to those 6-feet-tall cat trees, the list can stretch for miles.

A lot of people like to invest in cat trees. They tend to capture the interest of cats quite easily to fulfill their natural urge to climb. Not to mention that your cat can get a nice view of your living room from the top of its tower.

Cat trees can be great to stimulate your cat’s natural urge to climb, explore, and scratch. But why are cat trees so expensive?

Why Are Cat Trees So Expensive

These structures are usually bulky, made of top-quality materials, and very durable. Not to mention that a large sum of money can go to testing these products to make sure they’re safe for use by your feline friend. Many cats love them and there are many benefits for cats to use one.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons they’re so expensive as well as some alternatives for you. Read this article if you have an older tree and you want to know if it’s recyclable.

How Much Does a Cat Tree Cost?

Everyone knows that cat trees, especially if they’re big with multiple platforms, tend to be pricey. Yet, you might have no idea how much they might cost you.

A basic cat tree with about 2 or 3 platforms can range from $100 to $200. If you think these prices are over-the-top, you might be in for a surprise.

Cat trees with more options like several perches and ropes will probably cost you more than $300. These are usually bulkier and with structures made of wood.

On the other hand, you might find some towers made of less pricey materials like cardboard. They can start from $50 all the way to $150, but their lifespans can be quite short compared to their wooden counterparts.

Now that you understand what we mean, you might be wondering why cat trees cost so much. Let’s find out more about the factors responsible for this in the following section.

5 Reasons Why Cat Trees Are Expensive

Without further ado, here are some points you might want to keep in mind before wondering about the cost of cat trees.

High-Quality Materials

The first reason behind these jaw-dropping costs is the materials used in making cat trees. Instead of using cheap cardboard, manufacturers tend to make these structures with sturdy wood boards.

This is because wood boards, like MDF boards, can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Therefore, the material of which the tree is made should endure all the scratches that your cat has to offer.

Not to mention that your cat can be heavy, which requires materials that need to stand up for the challenge. Have several cats in your household? All the more reason why their tree needs to be as solid as possible.

Durable Structure

High-quality materials will be no good without a solid structure that binds everything together. The second reason why a cat tree is expensive is because of the deep thought and planning that goes into making its structure.

It needs to be made of steel that will bear the weight of several cats at once. Let’s not forget that other elements like heavy-duty tubing should be properly installed to make pillars.

Also, the top and the bottom part must be heavy enough to keep the structure in place no matter where your cat moves.

Aside from all this, the technology and mechanisms behind the assembly are probably worth every penny you’re spending on a cat tree.


A lot of people seem to forget that it isn’t easy to construct a cat tree, especially if it’s designed for multiple cats to use. A really important factor that contributes to its price is its safety standards.

See, the manufacturers need to make sure that the structure won’t fall down easily while in use. Especially that cats can engage in rough play often, their tower should be resistant to their wild movements.

This is why many people go ahead and buy expensive cat trees. They’re dependable and put together in a secure way to prevent potential accidents.

Shipping and Distribution Fees

This is an important factor that most of us seem to neglect, yet its impact on the overall price of any product can be huge. Because cat trees tend to be bulky most of the time, major amounts of money are spent on shipping and distribution fees.

As a result, the manufacturers need to make up for that by increasing the price of these structures.


Because they’re made of top-quality materials and secure construction, you can expect these cat trees to last for years. According to several users who tried their luck with these products, it was worth the cost.

A cat owner even commented that the tree that they bought lasted for 6 years despite being used by 3 cats at the same time. This person went further, saying that their cats were energetic and playful, which is why it was such a surprise for the structure to stand for so long.

After addressing each one of the previous factors, the picture is probably clearer to you now. Now, let’s find out how you can create your own version of a cat tree without these additional expenses.

How to Make a DIY Cat Tree from Scratch!

Some people can afford to buy a cat tree since it’s probably going to last for years. However, others might have tighter budgets. 

For this reason, we’d be glad to give them a few tips on how to build a small cat tree without spending a fortune. 

Remember that this structure can bear the weight of one cat. Having 2 or 3 cats use this tree might result in it tipping over or crashing down, which can cause injury to your beloved furry friends.

What You’ll Need

  • 2’ x 4’ x ½’’ plywood board (you can also use MDF or particle wood)
  • 50 feet of sisal rope
  • 1-yard x 121 feet of chemical-free carpet
  • 2’’ screws
  • One wood board for the pillar
  • Table or circular saw
  • Drill
  • ½’’ stapler
  • Utility knife
  1. Plan Your Structure

The first step you should take is to determine the dimensions of your structure. This also includes knowing how many platforms you want to create and what shape they should take.

If you want to do this the simple way, you can plan for square or rectangular platforms because they’re easier to cut out than round perches.

You can start buying one sheet of plywood with the dimensions of 2’ x 4’. You can also use particle wood, or even better, an MDF board. MDF can be much sturdier than the previous two, although it might cost you slightly more.

Then, take a pencil and mark the dimensions of the different tiers that you’ve planned for your cat to sit on. Remember that the base needs to be big enough not to collapse once the upper levels are put in place.

  1. Mark the Places Where the Pillars Should Be

On the base, draw three small rectangles, 1’’ x 2’’, where you need to position the pillars that will connect all the levels. Space them out according to your liking.

Just remember that these should keep the upper platforms stable, so make sure that they’ll make a firm base.

  1. Cut Out the Pieces

Using your saw, cut out each platform, pre-drill, then sand it. Assemble the whole structure and put every board in place using the 2-inch-thick wood board as a pillar to keep them steady. Use screws to connect everything together.

When you’re certain that the tree will stand securely, disassemble it. This is because wrapping each board in rope is much easier when it’s on its own.

  1. Wrap the Platforms in Sisal Rope and Carpeting

This step might be the easiest one of them. Simply, pick each board and wrap it in sisal rope or inexpensive carpeting. You can assign one to the pillars and the other material to the platforms.

These can withstand the constant wear and tear as well as the scratches that your cats will be eager to give them.

Attach these two materials to the boards using the stapler.

  1. Reassemble the Structure

Finally, use screws to put these platforms back into place. 

Voila! You’ve created a tower for your cat where it can lounge and watch over your living room using inexpensive supplies.

To Wrap It Up

Yet, for those who can’t afford these gigantic cat trees, they can always find some pleasure in making their own DIY towers. This way, they’ll be able to control the cost and choose whatever materials they want.